Jannie Chan gets nothing from flat sale – share of monies goes to Official Assignee
Daughter's share goes to those who paid deposit but did not get property
Four months after the bank took possession of their apartment for defaulting on mortgage payments, prominent businesswoman Jannie Chan and her younger daughter granted a pair of potential buyers an option to purchase the property.
But the Keppel Bay View property was sold by DBS for $3.85 million.
The sale netted balance proceeds of more than $420,900 that would ordinarily have been paid out to Ms Chan, 74, the co-founder of luxury watch retailer The Hour Glass, and Ms Sabrina Tay.
But complications arose when the potential buyers successfully sued Ms Chan and Ms Tay over the aborted deal, and Ms Chan was made bankrupt by other creditors, leading to competing claims over the proceeds.
Yesterday, the High Court ruled that Ms Chan's half-share of the proceeds would be paid to the Official Assignee (OA), which administers the affairs of bankrupts and distributes assets to creditors.
Ms Tay's share has been released to the potential buyers, named in court documents as Davis Colin Niel and Kim Ji Soo.
In his judgment, Justice Choo Han Teck said the potential buyers only have a legal right over the proceeds to the extent of their $187,750 deposit, though their claim is more than $212,000.
Ms Tay's half-share of $210,471.52 has been paid to them, and the buyers have no security over the remainder of the disputed sum, said the judge. He said if the buyers want to pursue the rest of their claim against Ms Chan, they must file proof of debt with the OA.
The buyers were granted an option to purchase the apartment for $3.755 million on Sept 17 last year. They exercised the option on Sept 28 that year.
The deal was not completed, after a bankruptcy application was filed against Ms Chan on Nov 2.
The buyers sued Ms Chan and Ms Tay for the return of the deposit and damages for breach of the option, and won a judgment sum of $212,163.66.
The apartment was sold by DBS on May 13 this year.
Two weeks after the mortgagee sale, Ms Chan was declared bankrupt, which meant her assets were vested in the OA as her trustee.
DBS filed an application asking the High Court to determine the competing claims to the balance proceeds of $420,943.04.
It was agreed that Ms Tay was entitled to half the sum, but Ms Chan's share remained in dispute.
The Comptroller of Income Tax initially laid claim to part of the disputed sum, as Ms Chan owes $141,946.88 in income tax. But the taxman later said it would defer to the OA's determination and filed two proofs of debt with the OA.